If you have been paying attention to the LA Rams roster moves over the past two days, you likely noticed the trend of outside linebackers moving off the team’s active roster. If you recall, the team had elected to go with five outside linebackers to start the 2021 NFL season and moved the rather impressive Justin Lawler over to the team’s practice squad.
That left the team with veteran Leonard Floyd, Justin Hollins, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Terrell Lewis, and finally rookie Chris Garrett remaining for the 2021 NFL season. But on Thursday, September 2nd, the team made two roster moves that would have a direct impact on their edge rushers. The first move was the anticipated move of transferring outside linebacker Obo to the team’s Injured Reserve. The second move, which was not expected, was to move outside linebacker Chris Garrett to the team’s Reserve/COVID-19 list where he joins offensive lineman Coleman Shelton.
If you are doing the math, that means that the team currently has just three healthy outside linebackers for the season opener. Oh, and one of those players is Terrell Lewis. If that doesn’t make you even the least bit nervous, then you have nerves of steel.
Rams roster remedies
Of course, the team has a couple of remedies to explore. The first of which is to elevate practice squad Justin Lawler to the active roster for the game. The LA Rams can elevate a practice squad player twice in a season without risk of demoting that player back to the practice squad through the waiver wire process without penalty. Lawler showed up with a strong training camp and in preseason games, and would likely be the team’s first option.
But there are other options as well. With two players on injured reserve, and another two on Reserve/COVID-19 rosters, the active roster is down to just 51 players. In theory, the team could sign a player quickly who could be ready for a special team or limited role on defense by Game Day, and if they play well, could conceivably earn a role on the team’s 53-man roster going forward.
For now, the Rams will face the Chicago Bears with just three healthy outside linebackers. If Chris Garret returns to the active roster early next week the team will be good to go. If not? The Rams may need to add another player to have available on game day. Elevating Justin Lawler alone may be enough for one game. It does cut a little close to the bone though.
In an emergency, defensive lineman Jonah Williams could play in a two-point stance, but that is likely only in the direst of emergencies. Is there an outside linebacker free agent out there you have your eye on? His agent may be hearing from the LA Rams front office this weekend.